In most cases, the largest amount of traffic to your site will be comprised of direct and organic traffic. If you have a partnership with an industry association or manufacturer, you may see referral traffic from their website. If you decide to do paid advertising such as pay-per-click marketing, you might see traffic coming in from ad campaigns as well.
In this article, we’ll be taking a fresh look at direct traffic in modern Google Analytics. As well as exploring the myriad ways in which referrer data can be lost, we’ll look at some tools and tactics you can start using immediately to reduce levels of direct traffic in your reports. Finally, we’ll discover how advanced analysis and segmentation can unlock the mysteries of direct traffic and shed light on what might actually be your most valuable users.
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This traffic source comes from search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Remember, paid search ads or PPC (pay-per-click) advertising are not included within this source category. If you choose to run a paid advertising campaign for your business, it will not affect your website’s ranking within an organic search. Organic search is obtained through natural placement on search engine results, without paying for it, through search engine optimization best practices.
Hey Mavis, thanks for that :) I wrote down all the ideas from the comments as well so there are at least 65 ideas now, lol. I just wish we all had more time in a day to really work on all of them. I guess all that testing and tracking comes now so we can focus on the best for our blogs. But do I even need to say how much I hate testing and tracking.
Organic search traffic used to just mean the amount of traffic that came to your site via someone who found your site using a search engine. Then, you could drill down into more detail to see which keyword they searched to get to your website. For example, we might learn that someone came to HubSpot.com by searching the keyword phrase "inbound marketing." This is important to know because it helps businesses understand which keywords are driving the most traffic, leads, and customers so they can develop better-informed content and keyword strategies.

And although livescience.com has way more links than its competitor, it seems that emedicinehealth.com is performing better for a lot of important keywords. Why, you might wonder. Well, the answer is simple: content. And although they are both offering good content, livescience.com is a site offering general information about a lot of things while emedicinehealth.com offers articles highly related to the topics, leaving the impression that this site really offers reliable content. We are not saying that the 5 mil links livescience.com has do not matter, yet it seems that in some cases content weighs more.

Hi Brankica Wow, this is a super-comprehensive list for me to go through one by one and try those I have not even heard of till now :-) As always, some very useful information for those of us serious about our traffic generation and making an impact in our niche. Thanks for sharing your own experiences and I'll let you know how I go when I have implemented some of your suggestions. Patricia Perth Australia
Organic is what people are looking for; the rest of these simply put things in front of people who may or may not be seeking what you offer. We know that approximately X number of people are looking for Y every day. So if we can get on front of those people, we have a much greater opportunity to create long-term relationships and increase our overall ROI.

If your site gets most of its traffic from Paid Search, you should ask yourself the same kinds of questions. Is this because you have decided to use aggressive advertising to give your business a nice big push? Is the paid search bringing in plenty of sales for your healthy website? If so, that’s great; this strategy can be seen with some large successful companies. If it’s because you are unsuccessful with organic search so you’re doing paid search instead, you’d probably get a good return on investment if you optimize your website. Typically, the Paid Search results stay about the same, but the Organic Search increases and so do sales.


Hi, Having read all this advice I can see its going to be a busy weekend! After 'Panda' many sites have collapsed but I have found that Squidoo has surprised me as it seems to be keeping popularity and as mentioned above, makes a little money as well as helps driving traffic. Hmmm...50 ideas....shall I start from the top or be different and work my way up from the end of the list?
I would like to talk about a case study for a large start up I worked on for over eight months in the Australian and US market. This client originally came to the company with the typical link building and SEO problems. They had been using a SEO company that had an extensive link network and was using less than impressive SEO tactics and methodologies over the last 12 months. The company was also losing considerable revenue as a direct result of this low quality SEO work. So, I had to scramble and develop a revival strategy for this client.
For many startups, this means doing enterprise SEO on a small business budget, which comes with a few compromises. The problem is, Google doesn’t accept compromises when it comes to search optimisation and you need to get the fundamentals spot on. The good news is, the sooner you get these right, the faster you’ll be able to build a self-sustaining SEO strategy that doesn’t come back to bite you in the budget later.
Brankica, aloha. Yet another great article. With the in-depth info and resources you have been giving us, I don't know how you have time for anything else. This is another one that will live on my computer. You mention several words/places that I have not seen before. Look forward to exploring. Off to tweet. Will be working on a 51 for you. Take good care, my friend. Aloha. Janet
Great post, though http://www.blogcatalog.com that sends millions of visits a month to blogs and has an engaged community of bloggers from startup bloggers to pros should be on any list. BlogCatalog is the parent company of http://www.bloggersunite.org a site dedicated to harnessing the power of the blogosphere and another great site for bloggers to connect and get traffic and become more effective bloggers.
This, of course, if you do care about your organic traffic and your overall inbound marketing strategy and you don’t want to make a mess out of them. The truth is that Google has so many rules and algorithms for scoring a website and that the SERP is so volatile that it’s nearly impossible to predict which site will have the best organic traffic and from what exact reasons.
Danny, thank you so much. I always blush when I get some nice compliment like this, from you, cause you are definitely one of my blogging heroes :) I really appreciate that you took the time to write this comment and share the post. I try to write about stuff I tried and tested, good or bad, and I hope I won't ever end up in that "copy/paste" group of bloggers. Again, thank you and comments like these make me just wanna push forward :)
Hey Andreas, there are two main reasons I saw for suspending accounts - mean people and too many links. But they come to the same. On Yahoo Answers, like everywhere else, you have competition. They will flag your answer just so their answer would be chosen as the best. On the other hand, putting too many links in your answers can provoke the same thing. I usually put a link in every 3rd or 4th answer I post. And it is usually the best answer I can make. Glad you will try out the other sources, would love to see the results.
No one wants to work harder than they have to – and why should they? Why pour five hours into Plan A when Plan B takes half the time and can be twice as effective? While that might seem like common sense, many companies waste a lot of time churning out new website content, when they should be revamping their existing blog posts and landing pages instead in order to increase organic traffic.
Get really good at campaign tagging: Even amongst data-driven marketers I encounter the belief that UTM begins and ends with switching on automatic tagging in your email marketing software. Others go to the other extreme, doing silly things like tagging internal links. Control what you can, and your ability to carry out meaningful attribution will markedly improve.
You should definitely listen to than man. He knows what is working and that is why all the SBI sites are so successful (at least for those that actually apply his tips, lol). Not going to tell you what to do, but try other free sources before spending on Adwords. I actually think ADW is great for landing pages, where you are selling something that will make you a nice amount of money, but it is hard to get them to work if you are not an expert. Actually what I am trying to say is that if you are trying to just get more traffic, blog commenting would be much better. OK, all the free resources need time, but they can often convert better than others. PreSell and SEO the SBI way are a guarantee of a successful site (talking from experience here). Thanks for the comment and waiting for more feedback :)

Hey Diana, out of these 50, you know all of them will work different for different blogs and I haven't fully "milked" some of them, but my top 10 are: commenting, Stumbleupon, Twitter, guest blogging, Reddit, Networked blogs, Blogengage, Bloginteract, round ups and Linked In. Not necesarily in this order of course. I do have to add that one of my top traffic sources (actually the number one) are search engines. Also, I have a lot of subscribers so they keep coming back too. If you have any questions, just post them and I will try to explain better :) Thanks so much for the comment!
Hey Don, that is a great question and I will give you the overview. Now I have been trying these out for almost two years, for example Yahoo Answers was one of the first ones I tried and brought great results then. So first you need to decide which ones will you try and then track the results. I use Google Analytics to track the incoming traffic. So if I am focusing for example on blog commenting, I will note where I commented, how many times, etc and then see if those comments brought me any traffic. It depends a lot on the type of comment I make, the title of my ComLuv post, but you can still get some overview of how that traffic source is working for you. There are of course sources I discover "by chance". For example, in the last month Paper.li brought me 24 visitors, that spent more than 2 minutes on average on my blog. That is more than some blogs I comment on regularly bring me. So in this case, I will try to promote the paper.li a bit better and make it work for me. I will unfollow some people on Twitter that are not tweeting anything good so my paper.li chooses better posts hence better tweeps and get me exposed to them. A lot of them will RT my paper.li daily, so there is more potential of my content being shared. In case of the blog I mentioned, since none of the posts are becoming viral, the blogger is average, it is obviously not bringing me any traffic, I will start commenting less and work more on those that bring me more traffic. Now this is all great, except I get emotionally attached to blogs I read so I don't look at numbers like that :) But that is how you should track results. The main thing after reading this post is to choose up to 5 of these sources you feel comfortable with, work on them and track results. Keep those that work for you and ditch those that don't. It is a lot dependent on the niche you are in, too. I always try one source for up to a month, if there are no results in a month, I stop working on it and move to another one. If I didn't answer all you wanted to know, just ask additional questions, I am more than glad to help :)
Cool deal. You confirmed something for me. I forget and miss great items to include when I have to leave and come back to a post. I'm not alone there. lol I totally notice the same when it happens to me. The best ones seem to just fall out of the brain to the screen, don't they? Awesome to get to know you a bit better! Like your blog too, I'll catch you later on there. Cheers!
Have you conisidered traffic exchanges, or blog exchanges. After submitting your URL and signing up to about 10 exchanges, it takes about an hour clicking through all 10 surf sights at a time. But it does give you some good traffic. I reciently started doing it and I am now getting around 200 visitors a day. That is just from traffic exchanges. not bad from just one type of traffic source

Hey Tia, thank you so much for the comment and glad you liked it. I like Hub pages and Squidoo for traffic but the money is equal to none compared what you have to do to get so many views, lol, guess no pain no gain. I am also not worried about Ezines because I actually wrote unique articles and did my best to make them great quality ones. Guess that is why I posted just a few of them, lol. But they still get me nice amount of traffic. I like it more that I didn't have to post 200 articles to make it worth. Thanks again for the comment!

This is a fantastic list! I thought I had it covered, but I'm only half way there. I can't wait to tackle some of these. It can all get overwhelming at times, because there's so much information and so many resources out there. I would like to take advantage of Facebook and Google ads, but I'm not sure if they'll be worth the investment when compared to everything else out there. I just started guest posting, I have three due this weekend. And I'm going to start writing articles for Biznik.com - which is a great site and has put me in touch with loads of local people. Love it. The forums is an area that I just recently started dancing around it and I'm still finding my way. Thanks for sharing this great information.
I don’t know how much time it took to gather all this stuff, but it is simply great I was elated to see the whole concept related (backlinks, content strategies, visitors etc) to see at one place. I hope it will be helpful for the beginners link me. I recently started a website, also I’m newbie to blogging industry. I hope your information will helps me a lot to lead success.
As I already mentioned above, it doesn’t matter how small or big your company is; you need to take care of your SEO.  Remember that 89 percent of consumers use search engines to help make their purchasing decisions. To get people to buy from your company, you need to make your site visible at some point in the buyer's journey, which means you need to definitely be visible on the search results pages.
We want to see landing pages that came from organic searches, so first we need to add to this dataset the parameter “Medium” which is how Analytics identifies channels. To do this, use the drop down above the table of data and locate the option for “Medium”. The table below should refresh and now you will have a second column of data showing the channel for each landing page.
PPC platforms hinge not on fixed prices, but on bids. Marketers bid for what they’re willing to pay for a single keyword click. Some industry words are much more expensive than others. The more expensive the word, the more likely you should rely on SEO to deliver traffic and leads to your organization. To find average industry CPCs, you can use Google’s keyword planner tool.

We are in the SEO industry for a while now, wearing many hats: digital marketers, tool developers, advisers, researchers, copywriters, etc. But first of all, we are, just like you, site owners. And we’ve been through ups and downs regarding organic traffic, and we were in the situation of trying to understand why the Google traffic dropped dramatically at some point as well. Having all these in mind, we’ve thought of easing your work, and we’ve put together a list with the top 16 reasons that can cause sudden traffic drop, unrelated to Google algorithm changes or penalties.
When a user follows a link on a secure (HTTPS) page to a non-secure (HTTP) page, no referrer data is passed, meaning the session appears as direct traffic instead of as a referral. Note that this is intended behavior. It’s part of how the secure protocol was designed, and it does not affect other scenarios: HTTP to HTTP, HTTPS to HTTPS, and even HTTP to HTTPS all pass referrer data.
Remember when you used to rely solely on search engines for traffic? Remember when you worked on SEO and lived and died by your placement in Google? Were you #1? Assured success. Well, okay, maybe not assured. Success only came if the keywords were relevant to your site users, but it was the only real roadmap to generating site traffic and revenue.
People who use the ambiguous phrase “social media marketing” are typically referring to advertising: you broadcast your message and hope people will listen. Even if you overcome consumer indifference with a well-targeted campaign, any subsequent interactions are affected by their very public nature. The privacy of dark social, by contrast, represents a potential goldmine of intimate, targeted, and relevant interactions with high conversion potential. Nebulous and difficult-to-track though it may be, dark social has the potential to let marketers tap into elusive power of word of mouth.
If you've never been on Product Hunt before, it's like a daily Reddit feed for new products. Products get submitted to the community and they're voted on. Each day products are stacked in descending order based on how many votes they've had. Ranking at the top of the daily list can result in thousands of conversion-focused traffic to your site, just as the creator of Nomad List found out.
What about Twithelp? I just discovered them, and went a little hog wild posting answers for people with various natural parenting questions. I'm afraid I might've spammed my feed, I was having so much fun. Oops. =) I like the Craigslist idea, as well. Even though right now I don't have any informational products to sell or for free download on my blog yet, I started wondering if I shouldn't advertise there as a natural parenting consultant, and offer to visit people's homes or meet them for an hour or two of consult with their little ones. I could do this locally very, very easily! Thanks again, Brankica! (I promise, I'm not stalking you! lol) Delena
According to our data, twenty-three out of the twenty-five largest retailers use Product Listing Ads (PLAs), which are cost-per-click ads that are purchased through AdWords to promote products. Google initially launched Product Listing Ads in the US market in 2011. However, the advertising format experienced an astronomical rise around 2014, when the search engine launched the feature in other countries. Today, PLAs account for 43 percent of all retail ad clicks and a staggering 70 percent of non-branded clicks!

Now, there's one more little group that might fall into direct traffic -- it's something you might have heard about as "Dark Social" if you've been staying up to date on, well, dark social as a referral source. Basically, dark social is what some people are calling the social site traffic that most analytics programs can't capture since it lacks referral data, but is coming from things like emails and instant messengers (which, technically, are social mechanisms). Often, this unidentifiable traffic -- anything without a referring URL -- is also bucketed into direct traffic. Now, as BuzzFeed so eloquently puts it, "all 'dark social' traffic is direct traffic, but not all direct traffic is dark social."
Let’s say that you are selling dog food. And most likely you will want the best traffic possible on the keyword “dog food”. Creating/building/earning all of your links with the same anchor text will get you in trouble. If you are having 600 links from which 400 use the anchor “dog food”, you might be facing a problem; it will surely raise a red flag to the search engines. And we all know what search engines do when they are getting these kinds of alarms: they begin applying penalties and move your websites so far from reach of the user that you will not be even listed in top 100. 
Cool deal. You confirmed something for me. I forget and miss great items to include when I have to leave and come back to a post. I'm not alone there. lol I totally notice the same when it happens to me. The best ones seem to just fall out of the brain to the screen, don't they? Awesome to get to know you a bit better! Like your blog too, I'll catch you later on there. Cheers!
When you run a PPC campaign -- whether through Google or some other PPC provider -- you can track how much site traffic it drives in this part of your sources report. Obviously for proper PPC campaign management , you'll also need to be reviewing whether that traffic actually converts , too. Like email marketing as a source, be sure to include tracking tokens with all of your paid search campaigns so this is properly bucketed as, you know, paid search.
The first step to digging into organic traffic is to analyze what content on your website is performing best in this area. For obvious reasons, the homepage is almost certainly the landing page for most organic traffic, but the other top pages are often revealing. To view this data, we’re going to head over to the Behaviour section in the Analytics sidebar, then choose Site Content and finally Landing Pages.
Brankica, I read through this and subscribed to the comments. Boy, it gets a little frustrating when you get so many emails that aren't to you:) When I first read I understood very lttle (very very lttle). Reading again has really been helpful. I understand these ideas so much better now. It follows that Hindu teaching, "When the student is ready the teacher will appear". You bring such value with your presentation style and willingness to go the extra miles (in this case). I will post exactly what my numbers are about two weeks from now after implementing at least 5 of these. I am hovering around 80 visitors daily in the last 10 days. I know it'll be a good report! Thanks, you rock girl. Live it LOUD!
Hi there Brankica, Super WOW! You have a bunch of quality, very applicable listing here. I believe being present on these sites would mean alot of traffic and sales because these are targeted and well renowned sites. I bet I need a lot of hardwork to be present to these sites. And this hardwork pays! Thanks for sharing this entry of yours. This has been the greatest list I've ever read so far. Good job. Cheers, Kira Permunian

Buy spanish web traffic visitors from Google.es for 30 days – We will send real spanish visitors to your site using Google.es's search field with your keywords to improve your SERP CTR and SEO strategy. All visitors will be shown as organic traffic in your Google Analytics. Having a constant in organic web traffic is imperative in order to maintain your rankings and minimize the risk of dropping in the SERP's. So, don't wait use our Google España Web Traffic Service today …

Fantastic post Tom! There's a lot of confusion on direct traffic to begin with. These are even more finer nuances that you have explained. I have a client whose top source of traffic is direct, and part of it is maybe due to the fact that they don't do any promotion, and it's mostly shared around internally within their team. But I just noticed that their URL is http and not https so this might be something for me to take back to the team. Thanks!

Oh, I wish you told me what was wrong with it :) I only discovered it recently but I am getting nice traffic from it. I hope you will let me know how it worked for you. At the moment I am posting both to my page and personal profile. I also realized that I might just leave it on the personal page (yeah, sound weird) cause on my fan page, I kinda like to add a little comment to the post. Anyway, thanks for the comment and I will try to find your blog over there and subscribe to it on Networked blogs.
The amount of dark social that comprises one's direct traffic is going to vary. For example, you might be diligent about incorporating tracking tokens into your email marketing campaigns, and asking your co-marketing partners to do the same when they promote your site content. Great. You won't have a huge chunk of traffic dumped into direct traffic that should really go into email campaigns. On the other hand, perhaps you're embroiled in a viral video firestorm, and a video on your site gets forwarded around to thousands of inboxes ... you don't exactly have control over that kind of exposure, and as a result you'll be seeing a lot of traffic without referral data in the URL that, consequently, gets bucketed under direct traffic. See what I mean? It depends.

This is a crucial area. If you do not have schema markup and rel="author", you are costing your business money. It is as simple as that. As an example, say I want to make spaghetti (pasta) for dinner I search for “Spaghetti Recipe” and instantly I see some great markup in play, but one competitor has no markup and no rel="author" they are losing business in my eyes. Wouldn't you agree?.
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